Florida Family Reunion at Christmas

Old Aug 29th, 2022, 10:32 AM
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Florida Family Reunion at Christmas

We're coming from Montana, Syracuse and Houston, hoping to find an oceanfront rental for Christmas 2023. 10 people, ages 18-73. I know nothing about Florida so any guidance would be helpful. We'd like to have an oceanfront place, nice beach, swimmable water, a pool. Golf and fishing are a big draw for our family. Are there any hidden gem locations left in Florida on the Gulf coast? Thanks in advance.
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Old Aug 29th, 2022, 11:13 AM
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To get warm enough weather for swimming, you'll need to be in South Florida. I would look into the Naples or Sarasota area.
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Old Aug 29th, 2022, 12:11 PM
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Anywhere in Naples, Bonita Springs, Lely, Estero, Fort Meyers, Sanibel, Captiva and Marco Island will meet all your requirements. There are miles and miles of white sand beaches, numerous public golf courses, thousands of beachfront rental condos and houses. The rentals are either freestanding or in more private gated communities, some of which have private golf courses that offer renters golf privileges or short term memberships. There’s plenty of off-shore, bay and river fishing throughout the entire area.

Do an internet search for “condo and villa rentals in Southwest Florida (search by the name of the town) and you’ll find hundreds of links. We used Sotheby’s Realty a couple of times and found wonderful properties. We like the area so much we purchased a home and now live there full time.
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Old Aug 30th, 2022, 06:30 AM
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Thanks for that information. It gives me a good place to start. If you ever want to know anything about western Montana let me know!
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Old Aug 31st, 2022, 06:58 AM
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That's really subjective as to what are "swimmable waters". IN fact, the water off the coast in Naples area has temps a lot of people might not be comfortable in during December, especially very young/old. Not too different from New Hampshire in August, actually. Which is too cold for me. Florida is not really tropical in winter, the warmest area is obviously Key West, then Miami. IN fact, sea temp stats are that the water temp is slightly higher off the southern Atlantic coast than Naples area (such as Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood or even Palm Beach). if you are the kind of person who likes swimming in 70 degrees water, fine, Naples area is nice enough. I like the Gulf side better myself, but that isn't warm water to me. A lot of people are more comfortable swimming when upper 70s to maybe 82. When I was in college and 20s/30s/, I lived in Santa Monica CA and did go swimming in the ocean there and got used to it, and it was about 70 in warmest months (Aug-Sept), but it takes some getting used to. I've been off coast of Yucatan Peninsula in winter (Nov-Dec), like Playa del Carmen and their water temp is closer to 80 at that time, as a comparison. Which is nice.

Here is a chart FYI


another take on Naples

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Old Aug 31st, 2022, 02:13 PM
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You might check out Boca Grande on Gasparilla Island. There is a state park which preserves the natural land and fishing is good. Have to go off-island to golf unless you stay at the famous and historic Gasparilla Inn. "Boca Grande is best known for its sugar sand beaches, charming and historic downtown, and world class fishing."
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Old Sep 6th, 2022, 12:40 PM
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We've enjoyed Sanibel/Captiva Island. Ticks off your nice beaches (one of the best shelling areas in the world also), golfing, fishing, etc. In addition, their are multiple other activities to do - kayaking, biking, charter excursions (fishing, shelling, dolphin-watching, sunset, etc.), Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge, etc. Restaurants, grocery, etc. all available if you want to remain on the island - if not, Ft. Myers area is across the bridge with other activities not far away (Air boat rides, etc.) Fly into Ft. Myers airport, or can drive down from Tampa/St. Pete if airline rates are better.
"Swimmable water" is a subjective term - coming from a Winter state where charities do Polar Plunges for fun, it may be just fine; it's all in what you're comfortable with. We've worn t-shirts there in temperatures where locals think we're nuts! Most places have pools - if you want to swim in the ocean, just go for it. You'll be busy doing other things, so ocean swimming won't be a big priority if you do find it too cool. It would indeed be warmer in the Keys, but then you'd give up the expanse of sandy beaches available (Keys are more coral-y, IMO). Given your age range of visitors, this area would give everyone a selection of things to do, young and old.
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Old Feb 28th, 2023, 04:21 AM
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I like the Mexico idea, since Florida in December is not a guarantee of warm weather. I have had extended days of sweatshirt weather in December both in Orlando and Miami (different years). It may be cheaper also in Mexico. Noting that I find Florida rather abhorrent generally.
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